This is not a photo of just a gorgeous brass lamp burning.
The first thing I do every morning is light this lamp and have a chat with the Almighty Gang. It includes Gods and Goddesses I grew up with, and I consider them my friends who love me unconditionally and listen. By the time I am finished praying for my family, friends and the people who are yet to come into my life, I’ve reached a happy state of mind. I am ready to begin my day with a smile. And of course, I am totally ready, oh so ready for my first cup of coffee. Very sacred moment, that!
When I look at this picture, I see my Mom in our little prayer room, admiring my flower arrangement, inhaling the fragrance of the jasmine and champa flowers, and later taking one to keep under her pillow…and when it dried, transfering it carefully to a handkerchief to store in her cupboard.
I see moments when I’d hug her suddenly, and I hear her chiding me to slow down and not knock something over – “Vidya, careful! That lamp is burning!”
I see my son hurtle himself at her and wrapping his arms around her legs or whichever part of her he can grab, sometimes her saree and her hand automatically reaching out to steady him and hug him to her.
I see my husband take the folding chair inside this room to get some quiet when our house was full of guests and he couldn’t find a spot to work.
I see my son in this room, tip toeing in quietly when the house had settled down after lunch in the afternoon, and after my Mom had dozed off trying to get him to take a nap. He would love this little room that doubles up as a store room, and enjoyed inspecting everything there. I smile as I recall him sprinkling oil all over the place, just as he had seen the priest at the temple do it – except the priest used water and my son assumed it was oil. I laugh outright as I rememer how he rubbed turmeric and kumkum into his hair – it took days to get the hue off his scalp.
I recall the hundreds of festivals we’ve celebrated in this little room, with the lamp shedding a peaceful and welcoming glow, as if to say we can trust her, she’ll always show us the way. In my mind, I see trays of goodies, first offered at the altar before we ate them.
I think of Krishna Janmashtami, when my son would sit awake to see if Lord Krishna actually visited at midnight to eat all that we’d left for him and Maha Shivratri – to see if Shiva came and danced in our prayer room. Really!
I also recall, when he was about five years old, we would sit outside this room with the lamp lit whenever there was a power outage and sing together until the lights came back on.
Until he left home to go to college, my son would pray in this little room before he went to bed, standing in front of this lamp.
Today, as I continue to light this lamp every morning, and sometimes also in the evening, I remember how my Mom always said, pray for our neighbors – one in particular used to be quite annoying. I used to find it silly. Then she’d smile and say – if they are happy, they won’t have time to bother anyone!
Yes. I lovingly pour the oil into the lamp and place the cotton wick that I rolled in my palms from a bit of cotton. When it is soaked, I tweak the end that sits on the beak of the lamp and strike a match to light it. As the flame steadies, it radiates hope and assures me that everything will be alright.
I light the lamp of love every morning and so, this beautiful image moves me.
This week’s prompts are:
- When life gets really tough, what advice picks you up?
- If you could erase one person from your past, would you?
- Reflect on a beautiful image. It could be a drawing, painting, photograph – your own or someone else’s. Tell us why it moves you.
- Reflect on the following quote: ‘Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing.’ Pele